News

Wynne approves millions in salary increases for OPG executives as families struggle with sky-high hydro bills: NDP

During question period Tuesday, NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns demanded that Premier Kathleen Wynne explain why she thinks families who can’t afford their skyrocketing hydro bills should pay for a 100 per cent raise for the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) CEO, who is now set to receive a whopping $3.8 million salary.

“How does the premier explain to families who may lose their hydro why she thinks they should pay for a 100 per cent salary increase for the OPG CEO?” said Tabuns.

NDP Leader: Brampton deserves better than ‘hallway medicine’

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says cuts to hospital funding by the Wynne Liberals have left Brampton-area hospitals in crisis, and patients needing urgent care are paying the price.

“Jamie-Lee Ball is a young woman who found herself in excruciating pain. She was suffering from internal bleeding and complications from surgery, so she went to the emergency room at Brampton Civic Hospital to get some help,” said Horwath during question period this morning. “But instead of getting a hospital bed, Jamie-Lee was put on a stretcher in a hallway. She was labelled ‘Hallway patient number 1’ and she spent five long days and nights waiting for a real hospital bed.”

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s statement on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

New Democrats and all Ontarians stand in remembrance with the Canadian and international Jewish community, remembering the six million Jews systematically killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, including Jewish refugees turned away at the Canadian border.

We also remember the victims killed for their political beliefs, ethnicities, disabilities, and sexual orientation. The horrors of the Holocaust remind us daily that anti-Semitism, faith-based discrimination, and prejudice of any kind have no place in Ontario or Canada.

As we commemorate the loss of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, we also honour the survivors, and their strength and perseverance. In Canada, 40,000 Holocaust survivors have gone on to build a new life, sowing the seeds of today’s vibrant, thriving Jewish community.

New Democrats call on all Ontarians to be vigilant in the fight against anti-Semitism and hate. Let us honour the victims of the Holocaust by sharing their stories, to ensure that no such crime occurs ever again.

Horwath reveals details of her universal Pharmacare plan

On Monday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath laid out her plan for Ontario’s first Pharmacare program – a program to deliver lower cost, less stress and better health for all Ontarians.

“No one should have to rack up credit card bills to get the medicine they need,” said Horwath. “No one should end up in an already-overcrowded hospital because they couldn’t afford to take the medicine they were prescribed. That’s why I’m committed to creating Ontario’s first universal Pharmacare program.”

Horwath announces Ontario’s first universal Pharmacare plan

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Saturday that she’ll create the province’s first universal Pharmacare plan – a commitment to ensure all Ontarians can afford the medicine they’re prescribed.
 
“You shouldn’t have to empty your wallet to get the medicine you need,” said Horwath. “No family should have to rack up credit card debt to treat an illness. And no one should ever go without the treatment they need because of cost.”
 
One in four Ontarians doesn’t take their medication as prescribed because of cost, and 2.2 million Ontarians have no prescription drug coverage at all. With a growing number of people working non-traditional or unstable jobs, or finding it more difficult to land a job that comes with some benefits, the cost of medications is a growing struggle.
 
  “There are many in Ontario who split their pills in half to make the bottle last longer,” said Horwath. “Or they leave the doctor’s office with a prescription they need, knowing they’ll never fill it because of the price.
 
“Imagine if everyone could take their medication without the barrier of cost. We can help people live healthier, less stressful lives. We can make their month a little more affordable. And by preventing emergency room trips, we can improve people’s lives, and also relieve the strain on our overcrowded hospitals.”
 
Horwath, who made the announcement at an NDP convention on Saturday, will reveal details of her plan Monday morning. 
 
“My plan is affordable, and when we think of the risk to people’s health from skipping their medication – even the risk to their lives – it’s clear that we can’t afford not to implement universal prescription Pharmacare,” said Horwath. “This plan will mean lower cost, less worry and better health for everyone.”

Fired-up NDP convention focused on 2018

A roaring New Democratic Party convention made clear Saturday that they’re ready to run with Andrea Horwath, and they’re aiming for government in 2018.
Horwath received a 90-per-cent endorsement from the 1,200-delegate convention.
Weeks after announcing that she will reverse the selloff of Hydro One and bring down hydro bills by as much as 30 per cent, she unveiled another major policy piece Saturday: the creation of a universal Pharmacare program if elected.
Delegates also spent the first two days of the three-day convention discussing the NDP’s vision for Ontario; one with a government that shares people's priorities, and takes action to make it easier for everyday families to build their lives. Discussion and resolutions included topics like the price of hydro, the cost of housing, overcrowding in hospitals and lagging wages in Ontario.
The convention, being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, continues Sunday.

Statement by Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP Toronto-Danforth: Ontarians need rent control protections

“New Democrats believe a coordinated approach to housing affordability by provincial, federal and municipal governments is necessary.

Sadly, renters across our city and province are facing unreasonable rent hikes because Premier Kathleen Wynne refuses to close a loophole that denies rent control protection to tenants living in buildings built after 1991. For years, she has watched the housing affordability crisis grow, and refused to take action. We remain concerned that the Premier is out of touch, and that she fails to understand how this crisis is impacting young families and everyday Ontarians.

Ontario desperately needs rent control protections for every Ontarian, regardless of where they live, as well as affordability measures and more affordable housing stock.” 

 

Ontarians need rent control protections: Statement by Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP Toronto-Danforth

“New Democrats believe a coordinated approach to housing affordability by provincial, federal and municipal governments is necessary.

Sadly, renters across our city and province are facing unreasonable rent hikes because Premier Kathleen Wynne refuses to close a loophole that denies rent control protection to tenants living in buildings built after 1991. For years, she has watched the housing affordability crisis grow, and refused to take action. We remain concerned that the Premier is out of touch, and that she fails to understand how this crisis is impacting young families and everyday Ontarians.

Ontario desperately needs rent control protections for every Ontarian, regardless of where they live, as well as affordability measures and more affordable housing stock.” 

DiNovo’s motion to incorporate gender lens in Ontario budgets passes second reading

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo’s motion to require the Ontario government to incorporate an intersectional gender equity perspective in the 2017-18 budget, and all future budgets, passed second reading today. 

“This week, we celebrated 100 years of women first being able to vote in Ontario. Celebration is hollow if funding doesn't follow," said DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park. “Our budgets need to be equitable for women. It will ensure the prosperity of all Ontarians, especially those facing systemic disadvantage.”

Wynne government withholding disaster relief funds from Windsor flood victims: NDP MPP Hatfield

Percy Hatfield, MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh and the Ontario NDP’s critic for municipal affairs, challenged the Wynne government on the floor of the Ontario legislature today to explain when the rest of the flood disaster financial help will come for families that suffered flooded homes and damages during last fall’s flash flood.

“Last September, my riding of Windsor-Tecumseh had record rainfalls,” Hatfield reminded the Wynne government.  “In a short period of time storm sewers overflowed; thousands of homes were flooded.  110 millimeters of rain fell in 5 hours, 190 millimeters over 48 hours.  More than what we would normally get in two months.

NDP’s Singh presents motion for stable and fair jobs for temp agency workers

Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh presented a motion to protect Ontarians employed at temp agencies by ensuring equal pay for equal work and more stable jobs.  The motion will be debated in the Ontario legislature Thursday afternoon.

“Ontarians placed by temp agencies are getting paid sometimes close to 50 per cent less to do the exact same job as the person sitting right next to them. That's not fair and it’s not right,” said Singh, MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. “Everybody deserves respect on the job and that means being paid fairly for a hard day’s work.   

 

Wynne Liberals put rural, northern schools at further risk of closure

Yesterday the Wynne Liberals quietly released their 2017-18 education funding allotment and the news isn’t good for rural and northern students and their families.

The Geographic Circumstances Grant was slashed another $6 million, on top of the $10 million in cuts Wynne has made since she took office.

Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village in Essex facing soaring hydro bills, potential closure

Today during Question Period the Ontario NDP raised the case of skyrocketing hydro bills at the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village in Essex and demanded to know why the Wynne Liberals still haven’t taken any action to help Ontario families and organizations that are struggling to keep up.

“Staff at the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village reached out to the NDP to tell us that they are receiving hydro bills so high that don’t know if they can keep the museum doors open,” said Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.  “By privatizing Hydro One and hiking the cost of hydro bills, the Wynne government has squeezed an important piece of heritage in my community.  How did Wynne let it come to this?”

Government figures show new Liberal cuts to education

Ontario NDP Education Critic Peggy Sattler issued the following statement following the release of 2017-18 grants for student needs data:

“Figures released today by the Ministry of Education show that Kathleen Wynne’s newest cuts to classrooms will mean fewer supports for students, more layoffs, and even more school closures across the province.  Students with special needs will suffer disproportionately because of deep cuts to the services families depend on. 

Fifteen school boards across the province will see special education cuts totalling more than $4.6 million. Further cuts to geographic circumstances grants will mean more school closures for northern and rural communities. At a time when Ontario families need investments in education and kids, the Wynne Liberals are cutting critical programs and putting the future of our students at risk. Families deserve better.”

Wynne dragging feet on funds for children’s autism treatment: NDP MPP Taylor

Monique Taylor, NDP critic for children’s services, joined with families of children with autism today at Queen’s Park to continue to fight for services -- because children are still unable to access the treatment they need.

“They are here because they’ve been let down so many times before by the Wynne government and they see the writing on the wall for more of the same,” said Taylor, NDP MPP for Hamilton Mountain.

How many more executives hiding salaries from Sunshine List?

Today, Ontario NDP Finance critic John Vanthof called on the Wynne Liberals to reveal how many highly paid executives being paid with public dollars are hiding their salaries from disclosure on the sunshine list.

“Transparency is vital to good government.  Ontarians need to be able to trust that the sunshine list is true and comprehensive,” said Vanthof during Question Period. 

This morning, Ontarians learned that the vice-president of the Canadian Hearing Society received a massive raise that was hidden from disclosure on the sunshine list because he opted to be paid as a "consultant."

“Can the acting premier tell us, how many more ‘consultants’ are being paid high salaries with public money while keeping themselves off the sunshine list?” asked Vanthof.

The Ontario NDP has been critical of massive executive salaries, particularly at Hydro One -- including a $4.5 million payday for the CEO, a 500 per cent increase since Wynne started privatizing the company -- while everyday families struggle to pay their hydro bills. But Wynne has kept that salary and others off the sunshine list -- leaving Ontarians to wonder how many more million-dollar executives are taking public money without public disclosure. 

 

While premier does another photo-op, renters suffer

Today at the legislature Toronto-Danforth NDP MPP Peter Tabuns questioned the Wynne government’s priorities on housing affordability and demanded they take the first step by closing the rent-control loophole. 

“Photo-ops of Premier Wynne don't help people pay the rent,” said Tabuns. “While the premier smiles for the cameras, landlords in Toronto and across the province are free to seize the moment and drive up rents as much as they want."

Young families can’t provide for their children and pay Liberal hydro prices

London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong says the Liberal governments’ failed hydro schemes are forcing young families to choose between paying out-of-control hydro bills and providing for their children. 

“Because they can’t afford their hydro bill, one young mom spends her days at her parents’ house to save on time-of-use charges, but it hasn’t worked, their bills haven’t changed,” said Armstrong this morning during question period. “Premier, can you imagine the frustration and anger these young parents feel being forced to choose between paying for your hydro schemes and providing for their infant?" 

The London-area family, who requested anonymity, live in a modest, semi-detached house that does not use electric heating. They spend their days at a grandparent’s house to avoid being in their own home during premium time-of-use hours. 

“When will this government take responsibility for the failed energy policies that you are forcing new young families to pay for?” asked Armstrong, the NDP Critic for Home and Long-Term Care. “And when we will see the Liberal plan?”

The NDP recently released a plan to lower hydro bills for young families like this one by up to 30 per cent. The plan reverses the Liberal government’s costly privatization in Ontario’s hydro system, and offers a number of immediate steps and long-term fixes to the hydro system to keep rates down – including ending unfair time-of-use billing practices.